Most e-cigarette studies promoted by the media put them in a bad light, but there are some out there that highlight the benefits of switching from tobacco smoke to vapor. One such study was recently published in the medical journal Inhalation Toxicology and concludes e-cig vapor poses no apparent risk to human health.
IVAQS (Indoor Vapor Air Quality Study) has quite an interesting story. Back in March of 2009, after being faced with local electronic cigarette bans, a group of Long Island vapers formed the Long Island Vapers Club. They gathered to discuss problems related to using e-cigarettes and fight the Suffolk County Legislature. Despite their best efforts, they were unsuccessful in preventing the banning of vaporizers indoors, but managed to prevent authorities from taking away the right to buy and sell the product in Suffolk County, NY. This partial success was due to their extensive efforts to educate legislators about electronic cigarettes and vaping.
At the end of 2009, due to electronic cigarette legislation being introduced all over the United States, the group changed its name to National Vapers Club (NVC). Every time they tried to convince legislators about the benefits of using e-cigs compared to smoking cigarettes, they were told that if they were able to produce scientific evidence that electronic cigarettes vapor was not hazardous to the health of those around the user, they would lift the bans. So the members of NVC started holding raffles and fundraisers like Vapefest to gather donations from e-cig users and retailers. In just two years they managed to raise $100,000 and contracted CHANGE to oversee the IVAQS study that would show the world whether e-cigarette vapor is harmful to bystanders. In 2011 data was collected at Clarkson University’s Center for Air Resources Engineering & Science, and presented to an independent toxicologist. The paper on the findings of the study was written in early 2012 and finally published in the Inhalation Toxicology journal just a few days ago.
Let’s take a look at how the study was conducted and at its findings. Four kinds of high-nicotine e-liquids were vaporized in two sets of experiments by generic two-piece electronic cigarettes to collect emissions and assess indoor air concentrations of common tobacco smoke byproducts. Tobacco cigarette emissions were tested in the same conditions, to compare results. According to the “Results” section of the study abstract “Comparisons of pollutant concentrations were made between e-cigarette vapor and tobacco smoke samples. Pollutants included VOCs, carbonyls, PAHs, nicotine, TSNAs, and glycols. From these results, risk analyses were conducted based on dilution into a 40 m3 room and standard toxicological data. Non-cancer risk analysis revealed “No Significant Risk” of harm to human health for vapor samples from e-liquids (A-D). In contrast, for tobacco smoke most findings markedly exceeded risk limits indicating a condition of “Significant Risk” of harm to human health. With regard to cancer risk analysis, no vapor sample from e-liquids A-D exceeded the risk limit for either children or adults. The tobacco smoke sample approached the risk limits for adult exposure.”
The IVAQS study concludes that for all byproducts measured, electronic cigarettes produce very small exposures compared to analog cigs. Based on analyzed compounds, there is no apparent risk to human health from e-cigarette emissions.
“This study demonstrates that the risks of secondhand vapor from electronic cigarette use are very small in comparison to those associated with secondhand tobacco smoke,” said Dr. Michael Siegel, from Boston University’s School of Public Health. “While secondhand smoke must be eliminated in workplaces and public places, the current data provide no justification for eliminating electronic cigarette use in these places.” Dr. Murray Laugesen, a public health medicine specialist for Health New Zealand, who acknowledged electronic cigarettes’ potential as smoking cessation and reduction aids, said ”The results of this study confirm the findings of my last 4 years of research. E-cigarettes pose no discernible risk to public health.”
Although we should point out the IVAQS study was backed by members of the vaping community and various electronic cigarette suppliers, it was conducted by independent researchers with no ties to the industry, and their conclusion speaks for itself. It’s good to see some more positive e-cigarette studies, even though it’s safe to say they’ll never receive as much attention from mainstream media as negative ones.
The National Vapers Club now hopes legislators will favor scientific evidence to unfounded claims backed by various anti e-cigarette organizations.